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Scared to travel solo? READ THIS!

It all started when I packed up all my belongings and moved away from home in 2014 in order to study my ‘dream’ degree of Photography in Brisbane. Initially, I made the move with my partner of the time and we were lucky enough to be able to snag up some free rent with his Dad for the first few months while we got settled in to our new lives. On social media our relationship looked picture perfect. Every month I’d be uploading a photograph of the beautiful flowers and teddies that were delivered to my work, or some cute selfies snuggling in bed pulling faces at each other, but by January 2015 I realised that I had spent so much time doing what somebody else wanted and needed to do something for myself. We had a trip to Thailand planned for a departure in well 10 days before I broke it off *cue the ‘omg how could you even do that to someone?’ comments* and I took it as my very daunting opportunity to do just that. There was a lot of drama that had happened within that 10-day gap, including cancelling flights after being admitted to hospital the night before my expected departure, moving all of my belongings out of the place we had together and shifting it into a spare room at my best-friends’ family home and going through a lifetime of emotions all in under two weeks. Throughout all of this, I had decided to book a second ticket to Thailand (and yes, a second ticket because I didn’t have my travel insurance sorted by the time I was admitted into hospital so nothing was covered – claps for Soph). Was I excited? Nervous? Rethinking my decision? Happy? Fearing for my life? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, and definitely YES. What I didn’t know is how much this one decision would have impacted my perspective, my morals and my experiences to this very day. It has ultimately shaped the way that I live my life and I am forever grateful for following my heart and pushing past my fears.

To give you a quick insight into my first ever solo backpacking trip, here are some of the overwhelmingly crazy things that happened in a matter of a few days being by myself in a totally foreign country.

  • Thinking I had enough time to grab some snack food for the bus trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (12-hour journey long mind you) and ending up sprinting over a kilometre down Khao San Road with my two ridiculously large backpacks. Khoa San road is quite possibly the busiest strip in all of Bangkok on a Friday night, but thankfully the embarrassment was worth it in the end when I made my bus within seconds of it departing.
  • Relying on being able to book a train ticket straight out of Bangkok the night I had landed and then finding out at 11pm that there were no seats left on the train. I was stuck in the middle of the slums, with barely any one around that could speak a word of English.
  • Doing what the youth of Thailand do and riding on top of a Songthaew in Chiang Mai – I was literally sitting on the baggage rails on the top of a car. And yes, it was moving. Sorry Mum and Dad.
  • Arriving at what I thought was the hostel I had booked at 5 in the morning to find a friendly fella passed out at the entrance, aloooot of drug being consumed and no staff member to be seen. Thankfully we were at the wrong hostel and found the correct one within a few hours. Note: a lot of hostels in South East Asia have very similar names. In this instance the one I had booked was called Living Place 2 and we rocked up to Living Place 1. Common error I’d say.
  • Riding down the highest mountain in Thailand on a motorbike in the pitch black with a headlight that wouldn’t even illuminate the 10 metres ahead of you. Safe to say that I made it down alive, but I did spend the two-hour journey with my eyes closed as I ‘didn’t want to see my death’

Okay, so I had some daunting moments where I thought I wasn’t going to make it to my next destination or hell be it, even make it through to see the sun shine the next day (damn you faulty motorbike headlight) BUT these moments made me feel so alive, so free and so uniquely me. But of those crazy daunting times, I also…

  • Made friends from all over the world and I actually still keep in contact with some of them. That bus that I almost missed, well I met Lena on there – a German solo backpacker that ended up booking the same accommodation as me so we could stay and explore Chiang Mai together. I also met another Aussie backpacker by the name of Hamish. We ended up having a little fling and made the journey down South together, making some unbelievable memories. Solo backpacking doesn’t have to be so lonely if you don’t want it to be.Meet Hamish! 
  • Managed to get in a taxi from the train station to Khao San Road where I went into every hostel I walked passed asking if they had any beds available. At 1am, I had found myself a spot within budget and very proudly buckled down for the night. Sophie: 1. Bangkok: 0.
  • Built the confidence to dine out in cafés and restaurants on my lonesome and learnt to totally embrace it.
  • Got to watch the sun-set from the highest point in Thailand and then star-gaze in the middle of a nature reserve with not a soul in sight (Except for Hamish, my knight in shining armour that got me to safe grounds after the ridiculous ride down the mountain range).

To the people who have asked me, is it scary to travel by yourself? Hell to yeah it is. But you know what, that’s quite possibly the best part about it. I believe that you learn so much more about yourself the moment you are put out of your comfort zone and you can sincerely see just how capable you are to do things without somebody else helping you along the way. Traveling by yourself gives you both freedom of mind and freedom of your own. There is literally nothing that can tie you down. Don’t like a city as much as you thought you would? Book the next ticket out of there and move on to the next. Feel like sleeping in for half the day? Then ditch the alarm clock and say hello to a lazy morning snug in bed. Want to spend an hour searching for a café that does all-day breakfast so you can eat pancakes at 3 in the afternoon and not feel guilty about it? Sign me up. The point is, you don’t have to worry about anyone else but yourself and quite often this means that you can make the very most out of your travels.

Traveling by yourself also forces you to get socially awkward and meet new people from all different walks of life, unless you want to be in your own personal travel bubble – which is also fine. I have had so many moments sitting lonesome at a bar, striking up conversation with whomever was in reasonable distance of me. At first, it’s ridiculously daunting, I mean will this person even say hello back to me? Will they think(/know) I am absolutely crazy? But eventually you gain some pretty brilliant social skills that set you up not only for the rest of your travels, but for life. It’s some confidence boosting stuff, that’s for sure.

Most importantly, it teaches you to be your own best-friend and serves as a reminder that you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to. Things get tricky when you are in a foreign place by yourself, especially when English isn’t spoken by most, but the moment you overcome a sticky situation, there is an overwhelming sense of excitement and accomplishment. It’s the type of feeling that just leaves you wanting more of it.

If there is any advice that I can give to anybody thinking about traveling solo, it is to just do it. If there is one thing you will regret in life, it’ll be putting off the opportunity to travel because you are a) too scared to, b) can’t convince any of your friends to go with you or c) don’t think you are capable of doing so. Follow through with your intuition, have faith in yourself and buckle up for the time of your life. Trust me, you’ll get hooked.

Stay bright, light and colourful.

Soph x 

Ozshot Mag Instameet – Snapper Rocks

On Sunday I lost my Instameet virginity and it was everything I had hoped for; exciting, nerve-racking and rewarding. I have been wanting to go to one for so long but there has always been something standing in the way, whether it be for the fact that I wasn’t able to get access to my sister’s car, being called into work at the last minute or surprisingly a bad dose of social anxiety.  Well last weekend, I made sure I put it all behind me when I found out about Ozshot’s first ever Qld Folk Instameet just an hour and a half drive away from me at Snappers Rock. I posted on the Facebook event page, requesting a lift and within the hour I had received multiple offers. The kindness of strangers right? Now you might think one would be mad to jump into a stranger’s car, let alone a stranger’s van, (because duh ‘stranger danger’) but as I have gotten older I have been so much more willing to risk it for the biscuit, and this biscuit was damn tasty and extremely worthwhile.

Sarah (@thisissarahs_photography) picked me up from my place at 1pm in her decked out van and with snacks at the ready we began our drive down the coast to Snapper Rocks. There was something so seemingly beautiful about the drive. Before 1pm we were just two strangers, alike you and I, alike the person waiting before you for their morning get-me-up coffee and alike your best friend once was to you those many years ago, but within the minute we were connected on this incredible level all because of photography. This got me so thrilled for the afternoon that was ahead of us – I was just itching to get out there and meet fresh faces. We had left plenty of time to cater for traffic, wrong turns (and yes, we missed our turn off even though Sarah is practically a local) and a coffee hit, but somehow with the 30 minutes spare we were still racing to get down to the rocks in time (which was probably due to deciding to get acai bowls to go along with the coffee #noregrets).

According to Facebook the event started at 3pm, but it wasn’t until 3:30pm that most had arrived. We gradually broke off into smaller groups and got into our groove. I will admit, it took some time to warm up to the idea and to work out how to photograph other people when they are trying to do the exact same, but eventually it became second nature with most people tending to match up with those that shared similar photography styles and techniques, making it a lot easier to get the balance between being the photographer and the photographed.

I paired myself up with Jackie Dixon (@hellojackiedixon)- a bright eyed, bubbly girl that was radiating with so much natural beauty and had come to the Instameet on her lonesome. Alike with Sarah, Jackie and I clicked within moments of meeting each other, whether it was for the fact that I loved her skirt she was wearing or that we shared a similar sense of positivity and joy for life. We took turns in photographing each other, sharing creative ideas and embracing the splendour of the sun that was happening right before our eyes.The very beautiful @hellojackiedixonCome 4:45pm, we had all scrambled down the rocks and towards the beach to photograph the sun’s vibrant reflections on the wet sand (passers-by probably thought we had all originated from the jungle). I asked Jackie to go out and twirl in the distance, creating the most beautiful dreamscape with the moon dimly lit above her and the Gold Coast scrapers hazy in the background. There was a solid 15 minutes where I just couldn’t stop photographing the gradual descent of the sun, but I eventually took some time out so I could really take it all in without being distracted by my camera.Once the sun snuck behind the horizon, the steel wool twirling began. The contributors at Ozshot Mag had prepared at least a dozen sets of steel wool so we could all get some unique night shots and have the help needed from the professionals to improve the photographs one after the other. I didn’t end up taking any photographs of the steel wool for a few reasons, with one of those being that I had struck up conversation with Alex Spurway (@spurwaya), a Brisbane creative sponsored by Canon that I had serious Insta envy over and well, still do. I asked him question after question about his success on Instagram and felt so blessed that he was so willing to share and help me on my own journey.

As day turned to night, we had run out of steel wool, people were slowly dispersing off the beach and well, I was frozen head to toe after having the waves crash over me in process of taking a feet photo and was very ready to get back into the van to get into some warm clothes (and eat the Malteasers we had saved). Before saying my goodbyes, I made sure to add the majority of people on Facebook so we could plan to meet up again and writing this a week on, I am thrilled to say that I have actually kept in touch with those that I exchanged details with and have already arranged to meet up for an adventure this coming Sunday.  

A huge shout-out to Ozshot Mag, the contributors at Qld Folk and their sponsors for putting together such an impressive afternoon that is still bringing me so much joy and fulfilment. I can’t wait to get myself down to the next one – fingers crossed it’ll be an astro shoot!

All the love in the world,

Soph xx

 

 

Sunrise atop The Glasshouse Mountains

 

I will gladly admit that I am a morning person, but I definitely find waking up much more enjoyable when there is something to forward to, like an incredibly radiant sunrise and an extra strong coffee. Thankfully this was the case for this morning’s 4am wake-up call and I was more than happy to have my friend Bec stay over for that extra motivation to get out of bed quicker. We left the house at 4:30am in the pitch black and ventured on our merry way up the Bruce Highway and onwards to the bottom of Mt. Ngungun to begin our very exciting adventure. I have been wanting to watch the sunrise from the top of Mt. Ngungun for quite some time now as my last attempt didn’t quite go to plan (side story: James and I woke up at 3am to watch the sunrise there back in November last year and just as we turned off the highway with about 15 minutes to go, the car’s engine light came on so we decided that the smart option was to head on back to Brisbane because better safe than sorry, right? Well, the sunrise that day was incredible and we couldn’t even stop to take it all in, just in case the car wouldn’t start back up again. You can definitely say that it wasn’t a highlight of my year). So in saying that, I had some really high expectations for the sunrise this time round. In just under an hour, we had arrived at the small carpark at the bottom of Mt. Ngungun and with my camera strapped to my neck and our very dim lit IPhone torches at the ready we began our trek through the dark, breezy forest. I was quite happy to see two other ladies that had arrived just a few minutes before us, so being my true scared self, I tried my best to power through the first half of the walk to get as close to them as possible. I’m really not a fan of being in isolated places, especially in the dark so this was detrimental for my enjoyment of the walk, not too sure about Bec though. In about 20 minutes we had reached the summit of Ngungun and first light still hadn’t shown so we luckily got to watch the day start from scratch, it was simply mesmerising. We picked our spot along the rugged edge and waited patiently for the sun to creep up over the horizon and shine through the thick clouds. Over time, more people made it to the top for the main event but it definitely wasn’t crowded. I could imagine that this would be very different for the sunset and on weekends. There was even a lady that carried up a body bar with weights and had a mini ‘I MADE IT, I’m so strong’ photoshoot at the top (You go girl!). I could have easily spent hours upon hours sitting up there looking out along the coastline and down onto the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, but our stomachs were rumbling and being my half organised self, I forgot to pack spoons for our packed breakfast. So onwards it was for our coffee pit stop/plastic spoon pick-up and breakfast by the ocean. We decided to make our next stop Moffatt Beach, just north of Caloundra due to both the proximity and peacefulness of the location. It’s more of a locals spot and isn’t as busy or popular as the nearby Kings Beach. I also knew that we could grab a guaranteed good coffee from the lovely ladies and gents down at The Pocket Espresso which is conveniently located right across from the beach. After devouring our chia seed puddings that I had made the night before (see I am somewhat organised) we continued on to Mooloolaba, but not without a quick cuddle with some of the local pups that were hanging out by the beach with their owners. Unfortunately, the weather had completely turned by the time we arrived at Mooloolaba so we sacrificed the sunbathing and swimming for second hand book shopping and I picked up the sweetest book full of happiness quotes for a few dollars. Strangely enough, we both were ready to head back home before it even hit midday, I think it was mainly because we knew that a nanna nap would be in order. I feel so much happiness and light in my life right now and I am so glad that I am surrounded by like-minded people that embrace it as much as I do.

 

All the love in the world,

Soph xx

Why I never want travel to be free

A world as beautiful as ours deserves to be experienced, but for me, that’s something that I believe should be earnt and not handed to you on a gold plate. I’m almost positive that the quote ‘If travel was free, you would never see me again’ has been seen or used by every single Instagram, Tumblr or Facebook fanatic with reposts about just how incredible it would be and how it would be their dream come true. Well, I’m here to say otherwise. I’ve always been super sensitive on this topic and I have many followers that post about it so I wanted to share my own opinion on why I would hate travel to be free…crazy? I know!

  1. If you want something so bad, nothing should ever stop you from achieving it. That’s right, not even money, the demon in disguise. If you envy those people that quit their job to travel full time or those whom shifted their lives across the big deep blue, then why not follow in their footsteps? It’s 100% achievable. Don’t just sit behind your computer or phone wishing you could have something, when you so totally can.
  2. People become your home, particularly when you travel long term. You realise that the word home is as foreign as your next destination on your journey and that’s damn thrilling. If travel was free, you’d lose connection to some of the most vital aspects of that journey.
  3. You would take the main road; not the long road. Sometimes the quickest way isn’t always the best way to get from point A to point B. Transport isn’t just a means to get around, it’s a journey in itself; the people you meet and the places you see along the way are all parts of travelling that make it just that extra bit special. If travel was free, I’m sure most people would be inclined to take the quickest route – I sure would.
  4. Hard work pays off. It’s rewarding as hell knowing that you earnt everything you received and encountered. You’ll also gain a greater understanding of budgeting and how to decipher between your wants and needs of your daily life.
  5. Travel not only brings happiness to you, but it brings happiness to those communities that you invest your money into. There are so many local communities that thrive off tourism and well, if travel was free, these beautiful communities would crumble.
  6. If traveling was free, there would be a loss of appreciation for the small things in life like a cup of hot tea on a cold winters day, a shower after days of non-stop travel or hearing the voice of a loved one after no contact for days. When you travel, especially as a backpacker on a budget, you gain a greater understanding of how much or how little money you really do need to live a life full of wonder, adventure and spontaneity.

After all, ‘travel is not about money, it is about courage’.

All the love in the world,

Soph xx

One of my favourite aspects of travel

There is a heightened sense of curiosity when it comes to watching and observing people onboard the plane, especially during take off and landing. This gentleman in window seat 16J on the 13:55pm flight from Manchester to Doha on QATAR airlines instantly grabbed my attention. Even though his eyes were glued to what was beneath him, I felt an urgent connection, even if it was to me an unknown identity. Thousands of people board planes every single day, from all walks of life but what comes across is a parallel consciousness. We all peek out of the window, whether it’s for a fraction or a prolonged period of time and we think and we imagine to ourselves where the next destination will take us, no matter the journey or outcome. Not knowing where this gentleman is going, what journey his going on, or leaving from, thrills me, and sends me into a great desire that has still got me asking many questions of curiosity three hours after it was taken. This has easily got to be one of my favourite parts of travelling.

 

25 photos that will have you in love with Singapore

Well Singapore, what a treat it has been. In the past two days I have clocked 50,000 steps, witnessed some incredible sights, watched the sun set and sun rise over Marina Bay, went on many hour long missions to find vegetarian food and most importantly, fell in love with just how god damn incredible and lush the city is. I’ve never been a city girl, but Singapore has changed me oh so slightly. Here are some of my favourite photographs that I have taken over the past 48 hours – I am sure they will convince you that Singapore is one of the most beautiful, diverse and greenest cities you’ll ever witness. Gardens by the Bay  Chinatown Backstreets of Bugis Backstreets of Bugis Marina Bay Sands Backstreets of Bugis Chinatown Tanglin Mall Little India Raffles Hotel Little India Tanglin Road Arab Quarter Wheelock Place Cloud Forest Arab Quarter Orchard Boulevard Cloud Forest Arab Quarter Ellis Road ION Orchard Haji LaneGardens by the Bay Haji Lane

Stay tuned for my new blog post coming up ‘Wild, Whacky and Wonderful things to do in Singapore’

Lots of love,

Soph xx

Why you should never sacrifice your own happiness for others expectations

 

Let me start off by saying that this is not a post telling you to quit your job, pack your bags and wave goodbye to your loved ones and hello to the world. This is solely about my own happiness, self-growth and a longing for adventure.

I have always been known as Happy Soph- a title that I truly pride myself on, hell be it, I even made my own Instagram page a few years ago by that very name. So with that being said, I think it’s quite apparent that I have a very positive and happy soul. But that wasn’t the case T-minus two weeks ago and for that reason, I am writing this blog to tell you about my own journey in quitting my job and travelling to channel my own happiness, self-growth and preserve my longing for adventure.

Alike most graduate students, I started looking all over job sites as soon as I found out that I had passed my degree and would eventually have to say goodbye to those not so lovely 9am lectures and rocking student discounts (mainly just half price public transport and burrito deals). Although, I steered away from my photography degree and drove towards the travel industry – hoping to snag a job as a travel agent or even push myself to move away and become a flight attendant. And BINGO! Flight Centre got back to me within a few hours of applying and sooner than I knew it I was going through my three weeks of full time, intensive training in their super cool headquarters (they have slides connecting the top floors and an exclusive rooftop bar overlooking Brisbane!) Everybody that follows me on my Facebook will know just how thrilled I was to get the job and how motivated I was to turn it into a very prosperous future filled with famil’s, smashing targets and encouraging like-minded people to get out there and explore the big and beautiful world.

Three weeks out of training, and I was working as a fully pledged Travel Consultant – business cards and all. However, to be quite frank, I struggled from the get go. Don’t get me wrong, it was very thrilling; meeting like-minded people, organising dream holidays and planning my own trips whilst getting paid but with such high expectations comes high stress and high stress = a very unhappy and adventure-less Sophie.

There were a lot of other factors, but I would hate to make this a ‘bag out Flight Centre post’ because there really are some great perks for working for Flight Centre, but I will happily answer any questions about it if you are as curious as Curious George.

 And that was about it. I had told my Team Leader that I simply didn’t think the job was for me, cleaned out my locker, re-cycled my 990 leftover business cards and most importantly booked myself a very spontaneous holiday for a departure in well, two days now. I’m going to say this now, it’s nowhere near easy. I felt all sorts of emotions, I even cried – both of happiness and of a sense of regret. When it came to the time to book my flights, I was so jittery that I could barely even speak, let alone move. I even screwed up my travel insurance…but like the saying goes, ‘if it was easy, everybody would do it’. Which I think is something so important to note. There is no aspect of travelling that I see as a breeze, sure you might consider the days of sun-lounging on a picture perfect beach with a mojito in your hand an exception but to get to that point I believe there is always a sense of hardship, whether it be that festival invite you had to decline that all your closest friends were attending, or the ridiculously long hours travelling with no sleep, missed busses and lost luggage.

My point is, is that sometimes to overcome obstacles and prevail happiness, the four white walls that surround you need to be demolished in order for them to be restored. It’s a tough gig, but what comes with that, is rewarding, fulfilling and cliché alert, life changing. It’s the one other thing that I truly do pride myself on and would 110% encourage you all to channel your own happiness and be ready to take the plunge into the unknown if that’s what it takes to be truly happy. Yes, I think it’s important to have financial security, and yes, I think it’s important to maintain my relationships, but more so I think it’s vital that my mental health, wellbeing and ideally my happiness is the ultimate priority in my life and so it should be.

I am so excited to dedicate 2017 to moving onwards and upwards with Adventures of Soph and really pushing myself to grow and follow my dreams, no matter how big they may be.

All the love in the world,

Soph xx

The 7 reasons why you should travel with your parents at least once in your life!

I used to find my parents highly embarrassing when I was younger (Dad, that’s mainly you and your poor Dad jokes) and although that hasn’t entirely changed, I have learnt to totally embrace their weird, whacky yet wise selves making travelling with them an absolute breeze. Here is why I believe everyone should travel with their parents once in their life. Trust me, you’ll get hooked.

1. You get your own personal chauffer. They can hire a car and drive you around, just like the olden and golden days. This means that you don’t have to brave driving on the other side of road, paying extra money because of an in-existent scratch and more nap time. Oh the things that parents sacrifice for you. 2. You have your own photographer and videographer. This is one of my favourite things for sure! Gone are the days of standing back from the crowd and people picking someone who looks like they’d know how to use a camera (trust me, I was never right). You now have someone that actually wants to take pictures of you twirling, posing bizarrely and will keep snapping until you are have one that is Instagram worthy.

My mum is pretty much a pro behind the camera now!

3. Foodie Buddies: It’s almost given that you share similar interests when it comes to food, after all they have been the ones that have kept you alive and well throughout your childhood (if it was up to me, I would have eaten lollies for breakfast, lunch and dinner and on an adventurous day, uncooked Mi-Goreng). So when it comes to sourcing the finest foods, they will most likely be willing to do the exact same. It also gives you a free invite to snag a piece of their pizza when they’re not looking. Sharing is caring right?

4. Safety blanket: I know that I like to feel as if I’m a big girl when I am travelling solo, but there are always times of doubt, fear and pure uncomfortableness. By having your parents around it feels like there is this big warm safety blanket around you 24/7 – you’re practically invincible

5. Everything is always planned out months in advance if not years. My Mum has always loved organising holidays – if there was a title of TripAdvisor guru my Mum definitely would have taken it out with flying colours. What this means is that you can have a stress-less holiday and be assured by your highly organised parents that everything has been taken care of. ‘Another Mojito please?’

6. For what you get, it’s always cheaper. Yes, I sound like the worst daughter of the year, but I promise I’m not. What I mean is that everything you buy can be paid for in bulk. Need some butter for your Vegemite on toast but hate using four portions and throwing it out? Want to indulge in some wine, but can’t afford anything but the very cheapest? Want to stay in your own room and not pay single’s supplement? YOUR PARENTS ARE THE ANSWER. Added bonus: free cocktails, dinners and sometimes even accommodation. Life isn’t too shabby with the parentals around.

7. Bonding time. For me, family holidays are the most important time of the year. With my parents living in Abu Dhabi and my brother in England it’s hard to keep up with all the latest goss. Even though this means that we might only get to see each other on a yearly basis, travelling to a foreign country is the perfect way to bond, recuperate and enjoy one another’s company after being apart for so long. I also believe that some of the best and the plain old silly memories have been formed whilst travelling the globe together.

I am so very grateful that I have such adventurous parents that encourage me to travel and live my life to the very fullest. Thanks for being absolute rockstars!

All the Love,

Soph xx

Where will 2017 take me?

 

With 2017 coming to a quick start, it’s important, but also very exciting to think of what is ahead of me for the upcoming 365 days (minus the 3 that have somehow already passed). I don’t know about you all, but regardless of all the Kikki K planners and diaries I buy, I am still notorious for setting New Year Resolutions and not following through. So here is to kicking absolute butt and smashing all that I want to achieve AND more in 2017 (fifth time lucky, right?). My ultimate plan of attack was to settle, save and have serious envy over some of my favourite full time bloggers – Polkadot Passport, Gypsea_lust and Littlegreybox_phoebe – thats you! However, things seem to be oh so changing. I have recently scored a full time job as a travel consultant with Flight Centre and booking other people’s travel has been exciting to say the least, but has given me the itch to run away to the land of the unknown and pack my trusty ol’ backpack once again. So, I have set out some must do’s for travel next year, both domestically and internationally and oath do I want to tick em’ all off.

I have always been mesmerised by New Zealand’s natural beauty, friendly locals and thrill for adrenaline (I love a good bungy jump), so it seemed best suited that my first international trip for 2017 would be a camping road trip with my older sister Hayley, going from the North Island  to the South Island of New Zealand. Think lots of jumping off and out of things, scouting for the best wineries and some goddamn jaw dropping photographs featuring myself, my sister and landscapes dotted with turquoise lakes and surrounded by a plethora of greenery. I hate restrictions but unfortunately with annual leave, I will only have two weeks free in April to explore. Better than nothing though, right?

Next up is my annual family trip…this time..TO INDIA. For the past two years we have resorted to European destinations so it’s going to be very cool to take our newly formed tradition into a totally different continent. I literally cannot contain my excitement for this trip and have been dreaming of travelling to India ever since I could appreciate the divine cuisine (okay, my brother went there in 2014 and made me fall in love through his stories and pictures, but my new found love for Paneer curry is just as good of an excuse). As of yet, it will only be a short trip, but who knows…by June 2017, I may be ready to take the plunge to temporarily leave Brisbane and head off on another backpacking trip. I have been spending quite some time looking into some absolute must do’s, but I still feel like I am going in blind. So please send ideas or links to your blog posts my way so I can create some dreamy looking itineraries and WOW my family.

After being away from home soil, I have grown a desire to explore my surroundings, hence my idea of ‘settle and save’. Thankfully, I have some brilliant friends that love coming on small day trips whether it be laxin’ on the pasty white sands of Burleigh Beach or days that just pack a punch. I have only been living in Brisbane for about two years – so I feel like I have barely even scraped the surface, so here to is to a year filled with domestic travel goodness. I’m super eager to get out and about with a 4WD in Fraser Island as well as venture off to Stradbroke Island for a camping/reconnecting back to nature trip. Sounds pretty bloody good to me.

I really want to work on expanding my blog and adding that extra touch of creativity this year. So, as a New Years treat for myself, I went out and bought a GoPro ed.5! So expect to see some vlogs, travel videos and fresh content coming your way, but beware, I get really goofy when I am put in front of the camera. I’m so happy that I finally have a camera that I can finally take to the beach without freaking the hell out overtime the wind blew.

I know for a fact that this year will be filled with adventure, happiness and spontaneity. I sure hope it’s the same for all you beautiful people.

Lots of love,

Soph xo

An afternoon spent in absolute awe of Noosa’s coastline

I’ve had a busy few weeks with completing final assessments to get ready for graduation (hooray)– so finding a day completely free to myself has deemed to be quite the task. I have however managed to find a few afternoons spare, so onwards it was to Noosa, one of my favourite beachside towns, to soak up some sunshine and float in the crystal clear water. Thankful for the brilliant company from James, I had one of the greatest days off in a very long time and has made me so excited to get back up the coast to see what more there is to offer in Noosa and the surrounding areas.

Beach Beach Beach The Coastal Track along Noosa’s National Park is as scenic as it gets. It is a must do even if you only have limited time in your day, as this beautiful spot was just 30 minutes walk from the main carpark. Beach _mg_3789 At first I thought it would be so cool to hop under this hollow tree. That didn’t last long however when I began to think about all the snakes that could be hiding in there. James was sure to remind me constantly about the possibilities of one falling on top of me whilst I was crawling in. I sure don’t look comfortable, but it’s safe to say that I came out unscathed. Beach Beach James scaling down the rock face to get to our own little hideaway seat at Hells Gate. Beach Koala It may have taken me a few minutes to spot this fella even with dozens of people around pointing it out,  but I am so happy to have seen a koala in the wild. It’s been a long time coming. Beach Beach Nature Beach Food at 10 Hastings streetSo I may have broken my vegetarian diet (#noregrets) to have this calamari and paw paw salad at 10 Hastings Street. It was so worth it and I would 110% recommend it if you are looking for something light to freshen up your summers day even more. BeachGet away from the crowds and go to Noosa spit for a swim. It’s a short walk from Hastings street but is so worth it for the serenity (and large quantities of beautiful, playful dogs). It’s considered a locals spot, meaning less tourists and more relaxation.

Unfortunately that’s it for now. Until the next adventure,

Soph xx